Employee Engagement is the Foundation of Our Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion Action Plan

A group of four IGS employees in conversation

"An equitable work environment is a place where anyone who's a part of the team can be truly themselves – who they really are as a person," said IGS employee Tom Cephas. "It's only when each of us is able to feel comfortable in our own skin in our work environment that the team can reach its full potential."

What began in 2018 with a question – "How can we ensure IGS Energy is a workplace in which everyone can be themselves and thrive?" – has evolved into a long-term workplace diversity action plan designed by and for our people.

Our Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion (DEBI) action plan, released this summer, is the result of several phases of collaboration, in which our employees offered invaluable insight and recommendations for making IGS Energy the best place to work for everyone.

Through two years of research, focus groups and interviews – as well as working groups with employees from across the business – we landed on a set of actions, outcomes and measurements that will guide us toward a more inclusive, equitable and diverse workplace. Here, we highlight key moments in our process, as well as our three principal goals.

Our DEBI action plan – how we got here

Creating a more diverse and inclusive culture requires time, conversation and education – as well as a willingness to take the right actions and remove barriers to success.

So, why DEBI?

While companies committed to diversity and inclusion work use a variety of words and acronyms, we chose DEBI based on feedback from employees. Here's what it means:

  • Diversity: All the ways in which we differ from one another
  • Equity: Identifying and eliminating barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups
  • Belonging: The feeling of being yourself – and being accepted
  • Inclusion: The act of creating environments in which any person or group feels welcomed, respected and valued to fully participate

We worked with Raising the Bar Performance Group to create our plan – and to map out four key focus areas: training, dialogue, operationalizing and continuous improvement. As a result of this work, implicit bias diversity and inclusion training is now part of IGS Energy's essential training.

Recognizing that our commitment is only as strong as the actions that back it up, we organized our action plan around three primary goals:

  1. Equitable compensation and representation
  2. A safe place where everyone can bring their whole self and experience a sense of belonging
  3. Employees have equal opportunity to thrive

DEBI objective – equitable compensation and representation

We’re laying the foundation now to ensure our workforce reflects the diversity of the communities in which we live and work – while ensuring employees are compensated equally for work of equal value.

Key milestones:

  • Culture intelligence and implicit bias training for leaders and employees
  • Ongoing focus groups to gather employee feedback and inform company initiatives
  • Pay equity analysis for gender and race
  • New training for our talent acquisition team and our hiring managers, as well as systemic approaches to eliminate bias from the hiring process, including the creation of a role specifically focused on equitable compensation

DEBI objective – a safe place where everyone can bring their whole self and experience a sense of belonging

We’re cultivating a culture built on kindness and appreciation for what each person brings to the table. We’re creating safe spaces to allow everyone to freely share their own stories and experiences – and will advocate for everyone’s voice to be heard.

Key milestones:

  • Establishment of IGS Communities – our take on employee resource groups – to serve as spaces where our people can come together and support one another
  • New-hire onboarding processes that emphasize culture and diversity
  • Continuation of Justice Talks - group discussions focused on overcoming racism – to encourage dialogue and action around equity and racial justice

DEBI objective – employees have equal opportunities to thrive

We’re designing our systems, programs and processes to support our people, while reviewing everything we do through a DEBI lens.

Key milestones:

  • Enhanced development resources for employees – and more formalized processes to ensure each employee receives the same skill-building opportunities

What DEBI means to our employees

We asked a few employees what DEBI means to them. Here’s what they shared.

Tom Cephas, regional manager, field sales

What an equitable work environment means to me is a place where anyone who’s a part of the team can be truly themselves – who they really are as a person.

Allison Linden, lead, reporting and analytics

DEBI means being able to be your true self at work. It also means that people with the same qualifications will have the same opportunities for advancement.

Alex McKinney, lead, operations

When I think about DEBI, I think about my friends, my family, people of color who’ve had to change behaviors, attitudes, even hair when showing up to work, because they’ve been told it’s not acceptable to be themselves. I think that DEBI has brought more awareness to how people are looked at – for the people who haven’t been subjected to that kind of criticism in the workplace.

Looking ahead

We know that the success of our DEBI action plan depends on the hard work and dedication of all of us.

The events of 2020 – and the amplified calls for racial justice – underscore how important it is to listen to everyone’s voice and do the right thing, within the walls of our workplaces and in our communities.

“Our DEBI action plan is borne of collaboration – and a commitment to doing what’s right,” said IGS Energy President and CEO Scott White.

We’re taking steps each day to make our workplace more inclusive than the day before. To learn more, visit Life at IGS.